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            Greater Peoria Chess Foundation

            The Greater Peoria Chess Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to encouraging chess in our community and school systems. Chess helps students to develop many life skills that will help them as they navigate with challenges that lay ahead.

            Players / Organizers

            The Peoria Chess History Project is an ongoing effort to collect information about our local chess player and chess playing history. Peoria has a deep history with chess that goes back almost one hndred years (or maybe longer). The original Peoria Chess Association was 40th affiliate of the USCF in the entire nation. As time permits we will add other names to the list here. If you have information regarding our chess history, please let us know. Currently we are specifically looking for names of players/organizers who have played a significant part in Peoria chess history. Notes about their contributions would also be appreciated. There is no intention to slight anyone, if someone is left off, it's only my short term memory loss.


            Anderson, Jess Jess Anderson was a Peoria chess player and organizer in the late 40s and early 50s. Jess was an early Kingsmen Chess Club president and was also instrumental in organizing of the Peoria Industrial Chess League in 1943.
            Anderson, Phil
            Babcock, Glen
            Beecher, Alex *
            Chaddock, Phil
            Chapin, Bob
            Cohen, Patrick *
            Cramer, Hank Hank Cramer was a Peoria chess player and organizer in the late 40s and early 50s. He is famously credited for founding the original Peoria Chess Association and was also instrumental in organizing of the Peoria Industrial Chess League in 1943.
            Crum, Alba
            Crum, Randy Randy Crum passed away in March of 2019 after over 40 years as a Peoria chess player. He reached the high 1700s as a player and probably played more chess games at the Kingsmen Chess Club than any other player.
            Fei, Andrew *
            Felker, Mark
            Gardner, Bruce
            Garrett, Daniel *
            Hartwig, Art Art Hartwig was an expert level player and organizer in the 1940s & 50s. He was club champion from 1946-48 and played into his 90s. He also saved the 1945 US Open when World War II threatened to cancel the Open. He convinced Caterpillar to sponsor the tournament at the Peoria Pere Marquette Hotel.
            John Hodge was a chemist at the Northern Regional Labs and played on their Peoria Chess League championship teams in the late 40s and early 50s. A strong player, he continued to play into the 90s.
            Karagianis, Pete *
            Kunche, Nikhil
            Leali, Mike *
            John achieved a Master rating after winning the 1961 Indiana Championship and the 1966 Pennsylvania State Open Championship. Lutes also won the Indianapolis City Championship many times, the Columbus, Ohio Championship, as well as the Springfield & Peoria Championships. He authored nine books on the openings and became known worldwide for his exhaustive research in chess
            Lybarger, Dean Dean joined the Peoria Kingsmen chess club in 1938 at the age of 15. He attended regularly until his passingin 1994 and was a past club champion. He graduated from Peoria Woodfruff High School in 1941. He was a high B or low A player most of his career and was somewhat of a club historian. Much of the pre-1960 information on this page is due to his collection of nwspaper clippings and the stories he related to younger club players.
            Lyons, Chet
            Mabee, Tom
            Mathison, Wayne
            McConaghie, Pete *
            McEntee, Tim
            Menz, Gene
            Millard, Ron
            Naff, Bill *
            O'Russa, Lorence
            Pocklington, Bob
            Rhodes, Murrel *
            Roecker, John John was easily the strongest chess player in Peoria during the 1950s. John achieved an experts rating and won the Iowa Open in 1955. He was famous for playing the Budapest Defense and winning difficult positions.
            Rosenfeld, Irving
            Saberhagen, Harold
            Shipman, Ray
            Smit, Tom
            Suarez, Ron *
            Taylor, Tom *
            Vernon, Jim *
            Voss, Andy
            Webb, Jolly *
            Wilkinson, Bill
            Witte, Bill
            Zimmerle, Wayne *


            * Indicates still active in Peoria Chess.